Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This Is Not Me

I'm currently writing a book from a male point of view. It's not my first time, but I still worry. I mean, what business do I have writing from the viewpoint of a gender not my own?

Then again, I'm not an ancient Hawaiian chief. Or a 14-year-old fisherman. My parents weren't murdered when I was a child. I'm not a redhead. I don't have a southern accent. Yet I've written stories from the views of all of the above.

But I guess that's the beauty of being a writer, isn't it? You can be anyone you want to be, go anywhere you want to go. Still, it's intimidating sometimes. I don't want to mess it up.

Have you ever written about an ethnicity, gender, age, species other than your own? How do you prepare for it? Do you ever worry about offending others?

17 comments:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I don't worry about offending. I focus on writing the best I can.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Writing from a woman's and a child's point of view were challenges for me. So far I think I did all right.

Donna K. Weaver said...

It's very interesting, isn't it. But challenging too. I have to get strong input from male betas to make sure my guy POVs don't sound like girls. lol

Robin said...

Try #2-(the internet isn't being nice to me this morning)

I've done guy POV's before, but never for an entire book. I'd like to try it though so I can be cool like Jennifer Hubbard.

I know you can do it, and do it well. Excited for you!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Monarch is from the viewpoint of a 50-year-old male almost-retired CIA officer who uses women to make himself feel better. I figured if I could get THAT right, I was a dang good writer! I still don't know if I nailed it, but I have yet to hear from anyone that it doesn't work. The main complaints I've heard about that book is that it isn't "really a thriller like all those other spy thrillers" out there, but that's what I wanted, so I succeeded.

I say just write what it the way you feel is correct, then get input from someone close to that point of view, or as close as you can get, even if it's just gender and age. I've LOVED other viewpoints you've done in the past. Besides, if you mess it up, you can always go back and get it right later. :)

Johanna Garth said...

I don't worry about being offensive until I'm editing. But then I totally get obsessed with it. It's so hard to walk the line between authenticity with a character who is not you and blatant stereotyping. It just gives you more appreciation for what we do when it's done well!

Jamie McHenry said...

Writing from another point of view is definitely a challenge and takes some getting used to. I agree about the feedback. It'll help get the POV right. Good luck.

Tammy Theriault said...

Writing in another gender was quite fun! I didn't think it was so hard. I mean us women are so dang smart, we can do it all! I'm sure you'll be great at it.

J. A. Bennett said...

Right now I'm writing a book where the MC is Native American. I totally feel this. I'm writing it anyway.

Emily R. King said...

I'm sure you're doing great, Ilima. The fact that you're concerned at all means you'll be sure to do it right!

JoLynne Lyon said...

I hope you enjoy the trip of imagination! My latest--and so far, favorite--MC is a 23-year-old male. I worry about it all the time, but at least I don't have to guard so much against my fiction becoming too autobiographical.

Crystal Collier said...

LOL. I grew up with 5 brothers. I'm pretty confident writing from a guy's perspective. But imagination is a beautiful thing. I think that's the best part of writing--head hopping, feeling what it's like to be someone else for a day.

jaybird said...

I hear ya on this. Writing from a male POV is hard for me. Honestly, I am SO stinking girlie, thinking like a guy is foreign. BUT, I found it helps to go hang out at my brother's bachelor pad for a while, and watch all of his friends and how they interact with one another.

And, of course, I live with a ginormous and completely obnoxious Alpha Male. He provides a never ending source of testosterone for me to tap into. Although, I had to stop asking him for his insight into the male psyche, cause he is just too extreme. Most males (thank the LORD) don't think like him, which is equivalent to caveman. :)

Jack said...

I always write about boys, very rarely about girls, so I understand your doubts. It is hard, branching out like that, because it is hard to know how another gender would think. But deep down,I think you have some general idea and will know if you are heading in the wrong direction - if there even is one.

Jolene Perry said...

I used to worry about offending people, and then I realized that no matter WHAT I do, I'll offend people, so now I just write whatever I want ;-)

Tess said...

I don't know why we feel a need to justify this to ourselves .. I do it all the time. It's interesting how many times people ask how I could have written a southern book if I'm not southern. It's a fair question - but would they ask me how I could write a book about aliens if I wasn't one had I written a sci fi book? Like you say here - writing is all about make believe. that's the beauty and power in the craft. just babbling today.....

Morgan said...

I've been pretty safe in my choices so far... dealing with characters I relate to anyway... maybe this is a wake-up call! Maybe I need to take a chance and expand my horizons!!!